Guide to the Poconos: What to Do in Winter

Zooming north on the train after work, I feel like a kid again, giddy with nose-pressed-to-window anticipation, escaping to a skier’s paradise in the Poconos.

Why any New Yorker would pay to fly to a ski community baffles me; everything you could want in an active and picturesque winter wonderland is at your fingertips in the mountains of Pennsylvania, just a few hours north of New York City.

Where to Get Active in the Poconos: The Slopes & Stables

Blue Mountain Ski Area
Blue Mountain ski area1660 Blue Mountain Drive, Palmerton | 610.826.7700 |
Blue Mountain offers 130 skiable acres, 30 trails (12 beginner, 6 intermediate, and 12 advanced), with 3 trails over a mile long, 3 terrain parks, a snowcross, a 400 foot half-pipe, and a 14-slide tubing park that is over 1,000 feet long. Blue Mountain also has the highest vertical drop in the Pocono Mountains at 1,082 feet.

camelback ski area

Camelback Ski Area
One Camelback Road, Tannersville | 570.629.1661 |
Camelback is one of my all-time favorite ski resorts in the Pocono Mountains. I grew up skiing here as a child and have continued to ski here after college. I have also had the privilege of being a part of Camelback’s premiere ski school, as a ski instructor. Camelback has lots to offer skiers and snowboarders of all levels, with an 800-foot vertical drop, 33 trails (all lit for night skiing), 3 terrain parks, 2 half-pipes, and 14-slide tubing park. Read the oM Guide to Skiing at Camelback.

Elk Mountain Ski Resort
Route 374, Union Dale | 570.679.4400 |
Voted Best (Snow, Grooming, Value, Weather) in Pennsylvania by Ski Magazine; Elk Mountain, with 1,000 feet of vertical excitement, and 27 trails from beginner to expert level, offers a vast variety of terrain, from long winding trails, to challenging steeps, both with and without bumps.

Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Areas
Jack Frost | 1 Jack Frost Mountain Road, Blakeslee | 570.443.8425 |
Big Boulder | 1 Lake Drive, Lake Harmony, PA | 570.722.0100 |
Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Areas are located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s scenic Pocono Mountains. Ski both of them in one day with the regular lift pass that gets you into either one. With 36 trails, including glades skiing, 6 parks, and 17 snowtubing chutes combined, Jack Frost & Big Boulder will keep skiers, snowboarders, and snowtubers entertained.

Montage Mountain Ski Resort
1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton | 855.SKI.SWIM |
Montage Mountain features over 200 acres of terrain, with 30 trails in total (all lit for night skiing), terrain park, half-pipe, and season glade skiing.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding winter poconosMountain Creek Riding Stable
ROUTE 3, Cresco | 570.839.8725 |
Mountain Creek Riding Stable is the most enjoyable trail ride in the Pocono Mountains. Enjoy a beautiful ride through Mountain Creek and over three miles of wooded trails. Safety equipment, pony rides, sleigh and wagon rides also available.

Where to Unwind in the Poconos: Entertainment

Mount Airy Casino Resort
44 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono | 877.MT.AIRY1 |
At Mount Airy Casino Resort, choose from 2,500 machines, including reel-spinning machines, big jackpots, and the newest themed video slots. You can also play the latest video poker, blackjack, and roulette games.

Where to Shop: Outlets

The Crossings Premium Outlets
1000 Route 611, Tannersville | 570.629.4650 |
The Crossing Premium Outlet center features over 100 designer and name brand outlet stores with a wide selection of products: designer fashions and sportswear for men, women, and children, shoes, fine leather and luggage, accessories and jewelry, housewares and home furnishings, gifts and specialty items, offering savings of 25% to 65%.

Where to Stay: Lodging in the Poconos

Mountaintop Lodge
Mountaintop LodgeRoute 940, Pocono Pines | 570.646.6636 |
This family owned Bed and Breakfast has been providing lodging for guests for more than two generations. Mountaintop Lodge offers many comforts of a luxurious country inn along with the intimacy of a traditional bed and breakfast. This recently remodeled 1928 country house sits on beautiful woodlands in the Pocono Mountains. The 12,000-square-foot inn provides plenty of space for guests to enjoy privacy or seek socialization.

Each of the 14 private guest rooms, and one private guest cottage, comes with a private bath and some even have jacuzzis. The inn also includes a giant wrap-around porch, lobby, great room, and sitting room for guests to mill about. The Lodge offers a variety of recreational amenities for those adventurous travelers nearby. Guests have access to great sport facilities offered at two private clubs bordering the property, such as, snowmobiling, and ice skating in the winter, and golfing, swimming, boating, and tennis, in the summer months.

Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts
877.822.3333 |
Caesar’s Pocono Resorts was designed as three couples-only resorts in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Here you will find fun, intimacy, and romance all in one location. Choose from three destinations: Cove Haven Resort, Paradise Stream Resort, and Pocono Palace Resort.

Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge1 Great Wolf Drive, Scotrun | 570.688.9899 |
This Northwoods-themed resort features 401 family-sized suites along with world class amenities. Great Wolf Lodge has a 78,000 square foot indoor waterpark, with 11 waterslides, six pools and a four-story treehouse waterfort for children and adults who are young at heart. Other amenities include a 3-story Grand Lobby with massive stone fireplace, a performing Great Clock Tower, a 6,000 square-foot arcade, a fitness center, and an Aveda Concept Spa, along with two restaurants and a café.

Lake Naomi/Timber Trails
Route 423, PO Box T, Pocono Pines | 570.646.9191 |
For those looking to spend a getaway weekend or a more substantial vacation in the Pocono Mountains, another lodging option is renting. Lake Naomi and Timber Trails offers a range of house styles from comfortable bungalows to award-winning showplaces. With many beautiful homes in the community, you can find you the perfect home that will fit your needs during your stay for any season’s vacation plans.

Where to Eat/Drink: Restaurants & Bars

Van Gilder’s Jubilee Restaurant
JubileeRoute 940 Pocono Pines | 570.646.2377 |
The Jubilee Restaurant is a family owned and operated dining spot in the Pocono Mountains. Open daily for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Be sure to stop by on Thursday and Sunday nights for the Jubilee’s famous Wing Nights.

Piggy’s Restaurant
Lake Shore Drive, Lake Harmony |570.722.8493 |
For a great country breakfast or lunch stop by Piggy’s Restaurant overlooking beautiful Lake Harmony. Founded in 1985, Piggy’s continues to serve only the highest quality food, prepared with care, and served by a courteous and friendly wait-staff.

How to get to the Poconos from NYC:

The Pocono Mountains are located in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, USA. The Poconos is a close getaway destination, taking only 90 minutes from New York City. Hop on a Martz Trailways bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, located at 8th Avenue and 41st Street, and find yourself in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. For scheduling information, ticketing, and further information visit Martz Trailways.

Getting around once you are in the Poconos can be tricky without a car or a friend in the area, so consider renting a hybrid vehicle. Check out our Mini Guide To Renting Hybrid Cars In Manhattan

Photo Credit:Jeff S.